Transfers

Transfers are what I call the various methods used to get information to and from school. Maybe you do all your work on site and so this seems irrelevant to you. You probably sometimes need to send in cover work anyway, or send a book reference or webpage address in one direction or the other. If, like me, you end up doing some marking and preparation at home despite your best efforts, this often means lugging paper around. Let’s think about this.

I really like Wellington Grey’s ideas for keeping teaching paperwork organised, and when you must (exam papers and folders for example) then his model works well. I – and, I suspect, you – have probably used something similar for years.

Each group has a folder, or a divider within a folder. Work stays there and is carried around until it gets marked. We’ll look at ways to get this process streamlined another day, but for now it will do. The big help will be to have a routine about where it goes at home and at work so it doesn’t get lost. A note in your planner, whether paper or electronic, to tell you what is ‘owed’ can be a strong incentive to keep on top of it.

Sending information is trickier. There are many things you might need to know at work which occur to you at home. Sometimes you need information at home which is only easily available at work. This can be a problem.

Email is one solution – information can be sent back and forth and as long as it is organised at each end, it can work well. Difficulties arise when what you need to send is very large (documents, schemes of work, spreadsheets) or very small (a single page reference, a website address).

Big stuff can be swapped using a memory stick you always keep to hand (mine is clipped to my planner) or through a software solution such as Dropbox or Google Docs. You may have issues with this sort of synchronised solution, depending on school or college firewalls. This seems a shame as the potential for using, for example, Microsoft’s OneNote via an online service would make my life so much easier.

Small stuff is what tends to get forgotten. I find the freeware Scribblyvery useful as it keeps a notepad open which allows the contents to be sent with a single click to any specified email address. At home, this lets me send website addresses, book titles and similar incidentals – the sort of thing I find almost accidentally – to work. Until this the alternative was writing it on a scrap of paper which then got left in a planner or pocket for days.

If you have a school VLE you may find that logging in from home gives you a simple shortcut. So far I’ve found that this is best for getting information out to students rather than sending reminders to myself, as if I’m logging in I might as well send an email. It is, however, easier to upload files I’ve done over the weekend directly instead of sending/taking it in first.

One thing I’m currently trying to perfect is the sheer mass of paper I carry in and out each day. I end up carrying it because it’s in my bag. It’s in my bag because it’s part of the armful I move from lesson to lesson (main folder, marking portfolio, planner). What I need to do, I suppose, is stop transferring stuff from school to home and back again, over and over. Instead my aim is to only take home what needs action. So there’s my target for this week. What will yours be?


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